Nine hostages freed from seized French ship

Nine hostages on a French ship seized by pirates offshore from Nigeria have now been freed, according to Bourbon, the owner of the vessel. Terms of the release were not communicated, but all hostages are in good health.


AFP - The nine crew members taken hostage with their vessel at the weekend off the coast of Nigeria have been released, the ship's owner Bourbon said Wednesday.

"Bourbon announces that the Bourbon Leda and its nine crew members taken hostage offshore Nigeria in the night of Saturday 3 to Sunday 4 January 2009, have been freed," the French maritime services company said in a statement.

The company declined to say how the release was obtained but said all the crew (five Nigerians, two Ghanaians, one Cameroonian and one Indonesian) were in good health and would soon be heading home to their families.

The Bourbon Leda, a Fast Supply Intervention Vessel (FSIV), was attacked off Bonny, a major oil and gas terminal in southern Nigeria.

At the end of October another vessel belonging to Bourbon, which specialises in offshore oil activities, was seized by pirates off the Nigerian coast.

On August 2 two French crew members of a Bourbon supply ship were kidnapped by armed men in a bar in the port of Onne, near Port Harcourt, Nigeria's oil capital. They were freed in September.

Since 2006 the Niger Delta has experienced with increasing regularity acts of violence by armed groups who have kidnapped oil sector workers, attacked installations and carried out acts of sabotage.

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